Trees are great to have in the front or backyard; they create a beautiful green scenery with their lush foliage and bring a splash of nature to the landscape. Despite their appeal and many benefits, trees can also pose potential dangers to your property and family. Trees falling on houses can cause a lot of damage and even endanger lives.
It’s not easy to predict tree-falling accidents because even seemingly strong trees do tumble under certain conditions. However, we’ve compiled a list of five signs to look out for when trying to identify dangerous trees.
Sudden Tilt or Leaning
Some trees grow from the ground up with a slight diagonal inclination, making them appear tilted. These trees do not necessarily pose a danger because their roots adapt to support the unusual growth habit from a young age. We are talking about mature trees that suddenly start to lean in one direction or constantly sway from side to side in the wind. Such behaviour indicates unstable anchorage to the ground.
Poorly rooted trees can suddenly fall during storms, strong winds or even on their own.
Broken and Falling Branches
Dead and falling branches are an obvious sign of trouble. Some trees occasionally shed leaves and small dried-up twigs, but huge chunks of the tree falling off is not normal. The branches could be dying from internal rot within the trunk or disease. Either way, the breaking branches are a danger to property and passers-by, and the tree is at a high risk of falling.
Deep Cracks and Splits in the Trunk
Old trees sometimes develop small cracks, indentations and cavities in their trunks; in most cases, this is nothing to worry about. On the other hand, deep cracks and holes could point to a weakened truck or internal wood decay.
Another problem is a split trunk with heavy branches hanging on either side. Deep cracks and splits make the tree structurally unstable, meaning it could break at any moment, especially in strong winds or heavy rain.
Unhealthy Symptoms or Signs of Damage
It’s quite easy to identify unhealthy and damaged trees. Tell-tale signs that indicate a poorly or dying tree include unusual colour changes on the trunk, branches and leaves; bark abnormalities; oozing sap; and dry branches. Severely unhealthy or damaged trees are beyond saving; the only wise option is to have them removed before they become hazardous.
Trees Too Close to Structures
Trees that grow dangerously close to aboveground and underground structures such as plumbing systems, buildings, paved ground, power lines and fences pose risks of potential damage and injury. Tree roots can do a lot of damage to floors, walls, roads and underground plumbing.Overhanging branches are also known to damage roofs and overhead power lines.
Trimming overgrown branches is only a temporary solution, and there is really nothing you can do about the roots. Any tree growing too close to man-made structures is a disaster waiting to happen if left unchecked.
Most domestic accidents, damages and injuries caused by falling trees and branches are easily preventable. You only have to examine each tree regularly for signs of damage, disease, rot or weakness that might cause instability. Consult with your local professional arborist service on the best course of action once you’ve singled out high-risk trees.